In “What every business leader should know about IT management,” I shared that it was possible for business leaders to understand “what’s going on” in IT by understanding the five value chains of IT:

  • strategy to portfolio

  • require to deploy

  • request to fulfill

  • detect to correct

  • data to information

In this post, I will review the second value chain, require to deploy, having reviewed strategy to portfolio in my last post.

Require to deploy

Require to deploy is about how well IT manages development and delivery. This value chain focuses on the quality of the requirements process, the predictability of programs and projects, the end-to-end quality delivered, and the proof the pudding: the use and measurement of performance against service-level agreements (SLAs). The question here is, “Are people creating SLAs during service design, and how well does agreement created reflect the business needs?”

What are the goals for require to deploy?

To be successful within this value chain, you must be able to see month-over-month improvement in all of the aforementioned areas. You want to be able to measure and see that all components of this value chain are working – from requirements definition to project/program management to pre-production and post-production quality tests. In the requirements phase, you want to see that functional and technical requirements reflect the enterprise needs and business-case objectives. You want to know that IT is building to the right requirements, so that proposed solutions actually meet those requirements, including risks associated with requirements. In the build phase, you want to know that programs and project plans are likely to achieve their expected outcomes. You want to know that program and project activities are executed according to plan, and delivery is becoming predictable. In the delivery phase, you want to know that quality requirements have been implemented and that expected benefits are in fact achieved and accepted. 

Measuring whether improvement is indeed happening

Your IT organization should be continuously improving how it operates in all of the above areas. It should be actively measuring its improvement. Look first at the percent of time invested in strategic projects. This is going to tell you whether the right focus exists of program and project resources. Then I would look at the percent of projects that are on time and the percent of projects are on budget. These together tell you whether your IT organization is establishing predictability. For the quality phase, you want to know whether defects are being discovered post-production. This number should be moving toward zero. A high number clearly indicates there are problems in River City. Lastly, look at the percent of end-users affected by application quality. A high number indicates that there was a problem in requirements definition or project build and must be fixed to move forward.

Where do you go from here?

Start by asking your business about its require-to-deploy value chain. And then make sure you are involved in reviewing progress. This way you can help drive them to improve your business processes in general, and in particular, you can ensure that IT investments deliver their expected business outcomes.

 Related links:

Blog post: Making COBIT 5 part of your IT strategy

Solution page: IT Performance Management

Twitter: @MylesSuer